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The New Hulu Plus Experience for iPad is Here

June 6th, 2013 by Bao Lei and Rhon Manlapaz Software Engineer / Senior UX Designer

At Hulu, we sweat a lot of things: details, pixels, and especially, user experience. Today, we’re excited to show off the results of that sweat: meet our new and improved Hulu Plus experience for iPad.

We’ve redesigned the app from the ground up, focusing on discoverability, efficiency, and our overall user experience. There is such a wealth of great content out there, an embarrassment of riches in this golden age of television – and we know how overwhelming all of these choices can feel. I mean, our Hulu Plus queues each have hundreds of episodes waiting for our viewing pleasure, and sometimes the hardest part of the day is making the choice between “Family Guy” and “One Life to Live” (don’t judge). So we’ve really focused on developing several new ways to make your favorite shows, and your favorite new shows you never even knew existed, easier to find.

With the latest Hulu Plus experience on iPad, when you see an image of an unfamiliar show, movie or episode, touch it to trigger our new discover panel. If you tap a show, we’ll show you the first, next, or latest episode to watch, depending on your viewing history with that show. If you tap an episode, we’ll give you a summary and some info on that episode to help you decide whether this is something for you. And if you’d rather continue looking, a simple swipe right or left will let you browse collections and seasons effortlessly, like looking through that crate of records or a shoe box of the most awesome baseball cards a week’s allowance could buy, except all much more 2013.

Now imagine you’re in the middle of watching an episode of one of your favorite all-time shows, but have a burning desire to multitask and look for something else to watch, but at the same time don’t want to stop the video for fear of not finding out who Cartman’s dad is. Touch the video and pinch your fingers together to minimize what you’re watching. The video will continue playing and you can carry on with using the app to do anything else you’d like while it does. As soon as you start to play something else, the minimized player will disappear.

And if you’re watching a show you already know and love, like “New Girl”, and you’re desperately trying to find that one single episode where Schmidt says something funny (which is just about every episode…but I digress), just touch the image of a season or episode and navigate episode descriptions easier than ever before.

We’ve added a ton of other goodies like editorial curated collections, inline playback of clips, and improved search (tip: hit “enter” after searching). We can sit here all day and tell you why we’re so excited about the new and improved Hulu Plus app on iPad, but why don’t you download the app and see for yourself?

Happy watching – it’s an honor to innovate on your behalf! Please let us know what you think of the app.

Last comment: about 10 hours ago 30 Comments
  • Leslie R. says:

    Loving the new iPad experience. Works great on my mini iPad too!. Thanks to your u/x team!

  • Genesis says:

    I’d like to take the job

  • A says:

    Very cool! Always looking forward to what Hulu comes out with next! Keep up the good work!

  • William Hartman says:

    You will probably think I am an idiot but I would like to ask Hulu not to put any gay related films and TV shows on Hulu plus. We are still the most persecuted minority in the US and any education that you can give the general public especially young gay kids who are so afraid to come out of the closet an education to help us in our need for tolerance.

  • Hi Ken,

    Thanks for posting. I’m sorry for the confusion regarding the availability of episodes of Arrow, and I’d love to explain.

    This is actually an unusual case for our service. While most shows that are part of the Hulu Plus program offer at least the full current season, if not more, The CW has opted to make its shows available on a “5-rolling basis,” even to paid Hulu Plus subscribers. This means that Hulu can offer up to five episodes of their series at a time; each episode is available for a limited time.

    The selection of five episodes for The CW shows also reflects reruns that were aired on television during the appropriate time period. Since episodes are sometimes aired out of order over the summer, this explains the seemingly random episode availability.

    If there are any other questions I can answer for you, please let me know.

    Thanks,
    Matthew
    Hulu Support

  • Ken says:

    Why are there all these shows on Hulu that you can’t watch from the first episode? Arrow only has ep 2, 3, 5, 6, 11, 12?????? What the heck is that!!!!! If there is logic to this, it boggles!

  • Well, what can I say but the old app worked and this new one works for about 2 minutes. Currently, I can’t keep Hulu plus running on the Apple tv, Xbox 360, or my Surface RT tablet.
    http://sprintergame.net/ Sprinter Game

  • Gary says:

    The last couple of days my hulu format page has changed and I cannot navigate or acces anything. Did some new policy or change take place on July 1st that I am not aware of? Who do I contact to correct this?

  • Jerry says:

    Hey Hulu….can we get a bit more editorial discretion with the selectiokn of some of the ads? Sitting down to watch Naruto with my kids, I have to sit through the banal “Pramface” ads. Am I being overly sensitive? Let’s see, a boy simulating oral sex on a banana, plenty of hip thrusting, and orgasm reenactments…no, I don’t think I’m overreacting. Hulu isn’t the only source for Naruto and other anime that my family enjoys; crunchy roll is a good alternative. Please show some maturity and do a better job of managing your ad content or lose this customer. Thanks.

  • David M says:

    Try as I may,I just don’t see Hulu as a long term player in the streaming arena.
    The interface leaves lots to be desired nd the “fixes”, offered from Hulu often seem beyond my pay grade. If the service were without commercials,I might be able to hang in there,but the commercials are a real Killer

  • Hey Julie,

    Thanks for the post! I’m sorry that the “Press ESC to Return” message isn’t going away.

    1. Go to ( http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager03.html ). There you should be presented with the “Global Storage Settings” panel.
    2. Drag the slider to about 100 KB if it’s not there already. If this doesn’t work after completing the next two steps, try 1Mb instead of 100KB.
    3. Make sure the box labeled “Allow third-party Flash content to store data on your computer” IS checked.
    4. Then select “Delete All Sites” in the Website Storage Settings panel.

    Please let me know if this helps!

    Cheers,
    Joe B.
    Hulu Support

  • Hey Laura,

    I’m sorry for the trouble here! Do you mind going through the steps I’ve listed below? We appreciate the feedback on the changes, it helps move our service forward. Hope to hear back from you!

    Thanks,
    Joe B.
    Hulu Support

    Troubleshooting steps:
    • Empty the application’s Temporary Files- on the left of the Hulu Plus app, tap the Menu icon (three bars) > Gear icon > Settings > Temporary Files > Clear temporary files.
    • Force quit the Hulu Plus app: Go to your Home screen, and then double-click your Home button. When the tray slides up, hold your finger on the Hulu Plus app until it starts wiggling. Tap the red button above its icon, and then tap your Home button again to finish.
    • Turn off your iPad completely, let it sit for 15 seconds, then turn it on again.
    • Uninstall the Hulu Plus application and redownload it from the App Store.
    • Make sure that your iPad is updated to the latest version of iOS.
    • Stream over Wi-Fi instead of 3G when available.

  • Julie says:

    So far, I like Hulu, but I’m having a continual problem when trying to watch free movies. Several continue to show the directions to press esc to return to small screen when I try to watch them in full screen. It’s very annoying to try to watch a movie with a big black strip of words going right through the middle of it. Is there a way to fix this?

    Thanks.

  • Laura says:

    Ever since the update, I can’t get through a 30 minute show without the streaming freezing up and needing to be stopped and resumed. Not a huge fan of the changes, and they are definitely not worth the headaches.

  • Hey Laura,

    I’m sorry for the trouble here! You should be able to rearrange the videos in your Queue. We appreciate the feedback on the Roku app since it what helps shape our service moving forward. You can always email us via ( http://www.hulu.com/support/support_form ) for more specific information!

    Thanks,
    Joe B.
    Hulu Support

  • Laura Reid says:

    Am I missing something? With the new iPad interface you can’t sort your queue in order of episodes. Just alphabetical or newest to oldest – which apparently is not always series order. For example, I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy but season 9 and season 8 episodes are all mixed together and no way to get them sorted so that I can watch in order. And don’t get me going on the Roku update which now takes 6 clicks to actually get a show from your queue playing. What are you thinking?

  • davidchenoweth says:

    New user to Hulu…….I can only descibe Hulu as an unbelievable failure to understand the user’s needs and wants for modern day TV viewing and UI experience. Can’t hardly wait to ‘un-subscribe’….ddc

  • Hi Pat, thanks for posting. I’m sorry to hear that our content authentication with select cable providers has caused frustration. For most shows that have an authentication option with paid cable providers, we offer the regular 30-day delay for free and Plus users. The cable providers who offer an authentication allow users to simply access additional episodes early.

    Best, Alexa, Hulu Support

  • Hi Ed, thank you for posting, and for your input about our new app update. I’m sorry that it’s caused you frustration, and I’d be happy to help. For help navigating the app or for information on where your favorite features may have moved to, please contact us directly at ( http://www.hulu.com/support ).

    Thanks, Alexa, Hulu Support

  • Pat says:

    Hulu Plus no longer offers current shows unless you have some TV company and link it all together…this is not even a possibility for us and so now we pay the monthly fee for nothing at all. Very disappointed as there wasn’t even any communication with the customer about the changes taking place.

  • Ed says:

    I am perplexed as to how anyone thinks the new interface is an improvement. It is absolutely horrid and definitely not user friendly. Operation is faulty; more human factors design; and very frustrating.

  • Chuck - Tulsa says:

    The new navigation is horrible IMO. It is very, very cumbersome compared to what was. I now use NETFLIX a lot more than HULUPLUS. I was considering canceling my NETFLIX but that has now changed – I am seriously considering dropping HULUPLUS. Now if by chance this isn’t your fault but is the fault of ROKU – then I’ll change delivery platforms.

  • Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for getting in touch with us, and sorry for all the trouble you’re having. The best way to get this resolved is to dive into some troubleshooting. Since you mentioned three different platforms that are causing you trouble, I’ll go ahead and link you to a help article that covers all of them ( http://www.hulu.com/support/article/20189372 ). Please take a look, and see if any of the recommended steps help. If those steps don’t help, please get in touch with us at ( http://www.hulu.com/support ) with as much relevant info as possible.

    Thanks,
    Casey C!

  • Ryan says:

    Well, what can I say but the old app worked and this new one works for about 2 minutes. Currently, I can’t keep Hulu plus running on the Apple tv, Xbox 360, or my Surface RT tablet. Crash, reports the device is disconnected but the device is fine. The funny thing is that the commercials all play beautifully, if you can make it to or off them, due to rewind effect. The only device this plays on reliably is the iPad.

  • I’m sorry for the trouble here! HAve you tried deleting the app and reinstalling it? Is your iPad’s OS version up to date?

    Thanks,
    Joe B.
    Hulu Support

  • Bo Qu says:

    Awful. Just awful. I didn’t comment for two weeks hoping it was just an issue of getting use to the net interface, but nope, still awful. Lots more lag. I often have to restart the app in the middle of a show. Searching is harder. Where did the timer go for advertisements? Canceled.

  • Hi Linda, I’m sorry to hear about the frustration. You can always contact us at ( http://www.hulu.com/support ). That, and some help articles are also found through the “Help” button at the bottom of Hulu pages. Thanks, Gabe, Hulu Support

  • Linda Faust says:

    I just signed up for your free week trial and I am already very frustrated with the lack of any contact info for questions I have. Are you opposed to customer service? Why is there no way to contact you or am I missing it somewhere?

  • Laura says:

    It’s much prettier, but why can’t I have ‘queue’ as a button along the quick link task bar at the bottom of the screen? I want a quick direct link to my queue, please.

  • Scott says:

    Speaking of details, is there any way to queue up entries you’ve searched for? Am I missing something? Tapping on a search results starts playing it immediately instead of popping up its info, and there’s no way to add it to your queue once it starts playing. It seems like search results should first pop open the detail view, just like any other list, and more importantly in a search because you may not know exactly what you’re tapping.

    Also, the title of the currently playing video shows up in the new minimized view, but not when you tap to get the overlay controls in full screen? Why not show it there as well?

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